Indians’ Lindor shows potential and growing pains in first homestand
CLEVELAND — As would be expected for his first homestand in the majors, Francisco Lindor has had his share of ups and downs. However, the Indians shortstop got one of the final first milestones out of the way on Wednesday with a home run in an 8-2 win over Detroit.
Lindor hit an 0-1 fastball from Buck Farmer into the stands in right-center to give the Indians a 4-0 lead. Lindor ended up going 2 for 3 with two RBI and reached base a career-high four times.
"I’m not used to hitting home runs, I don’t hit home runs," said Lindor, who had two home runs in Columbus this season and 21 in his minor-league career. "I knew I got something good, but I saw J.D. (Martinez) turn around. I was just trying to go two, but it went over the fence. I’m happy."
Lindor also got his first hit against the Tigers when he made his MLB debut on June 14 in Detroit. His first start, run scored, and stolen base came at Wrigley Field against the Cubs two days later.
As with any rookie, including a highly-touted one, Lindor had his highlights and lowlights. Most of the highlights came in the field, including a nice dive on a James McCann grounder to get the final out in the first on Monday. The lowlight came during the first game of the homestand on June 17 when a pop fly by the Cubs’ David Ross dropped in center.
Offensively, it was mostly a struggle as he went 6 for 30. While he did have the home run on Wednesday, there was also a baserunning error as he got tagged after straying too far off second during a potential rally in the fourth. The Indians still ended up scoring three times in the inning to take control.
In his first 10 games, Lindor is batting .243 (9 for 37) with a home run and five RBI.
"The batting averages you’re going to see for a while, they’re going to go up and down by the game," manager Terry Francona said. "You saw some of the youth with Francisco rounding second, not knowing where the ball was. Those things are the things that we talk about. They’re going to happen. But to his credit, he owns up to it right away and wants to listen and not do it again. So that’s good."
Francona also pointed out that Lindor doesn’t need to be a power hitter, but he does have plenty of speed to impact the top of the lineup, especially batting second between Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley.
The homestand has also allowed Lindor to get more acclimated to life in the majors, which should help with the Indians about to embark on a 10-game road trip to Baltimore, Tampa Bay, and Pittsburgh.
"I got some games under my belt which makes me more relaxed and comfortable. It makes me a better player because I am focusing on what I have to do," Lindor said.
"The homestand went OK. I’m not happy with all the losses we had. We didn’t come out with a winning record on the homestand. Hopefully on the road trip we can gain some games back and when we get back at home win a lot more."